Waitrose looks to get head start in mobile payment space with mobile self-scan trial

Waitrose is preparing to roll out a mobile self-scan trial that allows customers to scan products on their mobile device and could eventually allow the full shopping experience to be done on mobile as it looks to stay at the forefront of innovation in the mobile payment space.

waitrose quickcheck

The ‘scan as you shop’ mobile app is currently available on both Android and iPhone devices in three Waitrose branches in Clapham Common, London; Meanwood in Yorkshire; and Milngavie near Glasgow. Any customer that is a member of the myWaitrose loyalty scheme can try out the service in the trial branches by downloading the app and registering their myWaitrose card.

Speaking to Marketing Week at a recent press event, Waitrose’s outgoing managing director Mark Price said the trial has been going “pretty well” and that early indications suggest Waitrose could begin to roll out the service to all branches later this year.

Making shopping more convenient

Waitrose first introduced the existing ‘Quick Check’ service 10 years ago and it is now available in two-thirds of Waitrose branches. It allows customers to scan barcodes as they shop with a special handset, see special offers and keep a running total of spend.

The mobile app works in much the same way, with the mobile app producing a barcode at the end that customers can scan at the self checkout tills and pay.

Rob Collins, currently retail director but lined up to take over from Price when he leaves next month, told Marketing Week the aim is to continue developing the app so that in the end customers will be able to do the full shop, including making a payment, on their mobile device.

Providing customers with choice

He said while there are “issues such as battery life to contend with”, he believes it is only a matter of time until mobile payments take off.

“The mobile payments space is really interesting. In the early days of self checkout we used to have a debate questioning if self checkout should be part of a high quality service business. But increasingly some customers think if we don’t have self checkout it’s a weakness.

“We want to make sure we are providing people with a choice.”

Rob Collins, retail director, Waitrose

“If they want to pay on mobile they can. If they want to pay through self checkout they can. If they want to go through and talk to one of our partners on a belted checkout they can as well. That choice is key.”

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Comments
  • keith_lucas 16 Mar 2016 at 11:39 am

    Ironic that the Waitrose (aka John Lewis) ‘Partnership’ card is so antiquated. They apparently ‘have no plans’ even to offer contactless payment while their (woefully amateurish) card call centre rep had never even heard of ApplePay!

    • Tony 11 Jun 2016 at 9:59 am

      Yes I agree.
      I have just called the call centre to ask that they consider joining Android pay.

  • Listening Pig 18 Mar 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Love this and I’ve just seen it’s being tested in my local store..I’m off there now to try it!

  • Eucalyptus44 13 Jun 2016 at 6:53 pm

    At the moment it’s MUCH slower than using the hand held scanner. Tried it today for the first time and it took 8-15 seconds to register the item via photos rather than the instant result from the scanner.

    • Jonathan 18 Jun 2016 at 11:56 pm

      I think that delay is due to a slow internet network as it has to send the barcode to their server and then back to your phone. Have you tried connecting to the wifi in store to see if it’s quicker?

  • Eucalyptus44 19 Jun 2016 at 8:39 am

    I’ve used it twice now and on both occasions was connected to the store’s wifi. The other thing that makes it slower than the in-store, hand held scanner is that it’s hard to hold the phone with only one hand whilst pressing the scan icon. Firing a hand held scanner with one hand whilst holding the purchase with the other seems so easy and barely takes one second! Maybe I need more practice!

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